by Katie Simpson ’20
Soprano Katherine Whyte emphasized the importance of storytelling through singing in her Masterclass last Friday.
Music majors were able to perform pieces for the singer and receive critiques on their performance. Whyte drew on her opera experience to encourage students to tell a story to the audience as they were singing.
“So many people have good voices; what distinguishes them is storytelling,” said Whyte, who has performed with the Metropolitan Opera Company.
Whyte advised students to emotionally invest in their pieces, asking them questions about what images they saw while singing a song or why the composer made specific musical choices. “Don’t just sing it because the composer wrote it…you have to feel it.”
Recognizing the difficulty of singing with your emotions, Whyte feels as though “singing to an audience is like taking off your clothes and saying, ‘How do I look, guys?’ It is baring your soul.” She continued, “Singing is such a great, wonderful, amazing, thing but you have to be willing to look stupid.”
Vocal performance major, Rosemary Crimp ‘20, was one of the students who performed for Whyte. “I learned so much from her insight and experience, and I was gratified at her confidence in me and her encouragement.”
Crimp continued, “One of the many important things I will take away would be how to convey a song physically, as this is so important when performing in an opera.”
Whyte also suggested that students embrace their own personality in singing and storytelling. “There is no wrong way of doing it [performing], there is no wrong answer…It just has to be alive.”
Whyte is scheduled to perform a recital at Binghamton University in New York on Dec. 2 and will rejoin the Metropolitan Opera Company in Rigoletto in Jan. 2017.
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